Friday, January 25, 2019

Weekend Reading: The Time to Buy New Rollerblades Edition

I went out for my first rollerblade of 2019. It was a beautiful day, and it was a wonderful rollerblade... for the first half of my skate. Right after I turned around to head back, I noticed my left skate felt weird. I looked down and saw that the front wheel was wobbling. When I stopped to investigate, I discovered that this was because one of the two bolts that holds the wheel in was gone. I couldn't find it anywhere nearby, so I skated on back with a wobbly front  wheel. I made it, but I got more of an ankle workout than I was anticipating.

So I guess I'll be shopping for some new rollerblades this weekend. This pair was never very good. I need to find a place that sells nicer ones.

On to the links:

I'm going to assume that if you want to read about the shutdown and our (perhaps temporary) reprieve from it or Stone's arrest, you can find things to read.

The only related item I'll share is this piece from Greg Sargent about how Pelosi has found a way to counteract Trump's nonsense.

Here's a good article about the city of Eureka returning an island to the Wiyot tribe.

Electric pickup trucks are coming. I think that's a very good thing.

And here's another good thing: It looks like the Ebola vaccine is working.

Derek Lowe had two posts of general interest this week: One on the fact that we have (finally, only now) figured out the mechanism of action of quinine against malaria, and one on a possible link between gum disease and Alzheimer disease.

In recommended listening; Krista Tippet reposted her interview with Mary Oliver, and I really enjoyed listening to it.

This is a good thread about our problem with the media giving serial liars the benefit of the doubt:


I wish I knew the source of this wonderful chart:

I love this:



Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Personal Goals 2019

I've written about our Family Fun List, so now it is time to write about the other list I write on New Year's Eve (or soon thereafter): My personal goals list.

First, though, a look back at how I did on my 2018 goals:

1. Establish a new exercise routine. Eh, I sort of did this. I established a pretty regular routine of rollerblading every Friday and taking a ~20 minute walk every other weekday. I had intended to also have a gym day in my routine. I did that for awhile, but failed to make it stick. It just didn't work with our after school pick up schedule.

2. Start our backyard upgrade. Not really. I got one quote for the design process. I need a second quote, and the second company I'd picked never answered my emails. Bah.

3. Organize the kitchen. Total fail. Except Petunia wanted to make some money before our vacation and cleaned our spice shelf and a couple other pantry shelves. We still have too much stuff crammed into too little space, though.

4. Read a short story every week. Done! You can see most of the stories I read in this thread:

Twitter doesn't always show the whole thread, so here's from May to when I stopped posting. I think between the two, if you click on the posts at the "ends" you'll get to see all of the stories I read:

5. Do what I can to help in the 2018 elections. Done! I wrote a boatload of postcards to registered Democrats urging them to get out to vote in various elections, from local and state contests up to the midterms. I feel good about that.

6. Try at least one new recipe every month. Well... I didn't keep this to the letter, but I kept it in spirit. We tried some new recipes, just not one every month.

I also had a quasi-goal to lose weight. I met that goal. I dropped ~8 pounds from my high at the end of 2017, and I've been stable at the new weight.

One lesson I took from last year's goals is that I can use social media to help make me stick to my goals. I was most successful with my short story every week and my postcards, and those were two things I made a point to post about on social media.

So, here are my goals for 2019:

1. Improve that exercise routine. I want to keep up the rollerblading and walking, and add in some after work exercise on Mondays (the day that I have the most time in our after school schedule). I'd also like to add in some yoga. I see how to add in the Monday exercise, but haven't figured out how to add in the yoga yet.

2. Write more. I've set myself a goal of at least one Adjusted Latitudes post per month and also one other non-links post per month, which could be here, on my real name blog, on the Annorlunda news feed, or somewhere else. My stretch goal is one non-links post somewhere every week. I feel better when I write more.

3. Get a design for the backyard upgrade and get the first step done. Seriously, it is embarrassing this is taking me so long. I am lucky to live in a place where I can enjoy my backyard most of the year. I should make it enjoyable!

4. Stay active in politics. I don't mean that I want to get involved in the 2020 primary or anything like that. I plan to keep pushing for the issues I think are most fundamental to improving our civic health: voting rights and fair districts. Given the way the parties are behaving right now, this probably means I'll write a bunch more postcards to registered Democrats urging them to get out to vote in obscure state elections.

5. Take the time to notice more. This one was added well after New Year's Day. It came about because of the reaction to listening to Krista Tippet's conversation with Maira Kalman, which I described in last week's links post. I was jealous of the time and space Kalman made in her life for noticing things, and decided to try to make a little more time and space in my life to notice the beauty I come across. I'll be taking pictures of the things I notice (when I can - this week, one of the things I noticed was how green the hills were as I drove to work, and I couldn't safely take a picture of that). I'll post my favorite picture every week on my new Instagram account. This will be a bit like the Zenbits I used to post here, but Pumpkin is now actively asking for Instagram. All of her friends have it... so I need to figure out the rules for her, and to do that I need to be a bit more active there. I may also link that Instagram account to my real name Twitter account and cross post. Email me or leave a comment linked to an email address if you want me to email you my handle for either Instagram or my real name Twitter.

I am also going to set a one month challenge in February: I'll be tracking calories for that month. I hope to have the same success I had with calorie tracking last year. I did it for two months and ended up losing 8 pounds. I'd love to lose another 5! But mostly I like how calorie tracking for a little while resets my snacking behavior to something healthier.

And that's it. Do you have any goals for 2018? I'd love to read about them in the comments.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Weekend Reading: The Inching Back Towards Normal Edition

I'm feeling a bit more caught up this week, although I did have an almost-cold that had me working from home one day and going to bed early all week. So I'm not totally caught up - but I feel more like I'm on top of things.

One trivial thing I did: Unwrapped the seashells I brought back from New Zealand.

Some of these are in my shell jar, where I put the shells I pick up on the beach walks I take to celebrate a success (I decided that making it through my first year back at a full time job while also running Annorlunda Books counted as a success). The flat shiny ones are going to be turned into necklaces - I have so many because I expect to need to make mistakes! And the biggest one is going to go to my work office to remind me of a great vacation.

Anyway, to the links:

I wrote about why I love old short stories and posted it over on my Annorlunda Books page. I also wrote the "awards show" post about our vacation and posted it at Adjusted Latitudes.

(Yes, "write more" is one of my goals for 2019 - I'll write about that when I do my goals post, which is next up now that I've posted our Family Fun List for the year!)

Here's an interesting thing I noticed: Francesca Forrest (author of The Inconvenient God) sent me this review of the book, and I'm so glad she did, because if she hadn't I would be completely mystified by the big bump in sales I saw this week. I would dearly love to find more blogs where a review can move lots of books! If there is a blog you read where a positive review would make you buy a book, please send me the link. I would love to pitch one of my books at them, if it looks like a fit for content. I always follow pitch guidelines and only pitch once. But finding these sites is hard!

In other people's writing:

Despite the week's news, I have a completely non-political "if you read only one" pick this week: Kelly Clancy's story about a young woman who discovers she has a rare and inevitably deadly prion disease, and how she and her husband remake their lives to address the news.

I found this story about Speaker Pelosi and her political style very useful.

If you haven't read Yoni Appelbaum's big article about why the House should impeach Trump, I highly recommend it, particularly in light of the BuzzFeed news from last night. Appelbaum is a historian, and I found his section about the Andrew Johnson impeachment particularly illuminating.

I also found Josh Marshall's take on the BuzzFeed story useful. (That one's for TPM Prime members only... sorry. This Slate article is similar and free.... But honestly, TPM Prime is worth the money!)

My mayor (who is term-limited, so not going to face re-election again) has gone all in on YIMBYism. I think this is going to be a hell of a fight in San Diego over the next year or two, but one we need to have. I predict we'll end up with more housing than we would have otherwise, but that the changes won't be as drastic as the mayor wants. But we'll see. This will be a fight that is happening all over California, and indeed most of the West Coast, over the next few years and the outcome will have a lot of far-reaching effects.

I have been watching this story of a group of terrible tourists play out in New Zealand media and it has been just the diversion I needed to ease me back into having to pay attention to our horror show news cycle. 

This is a useful article about recycling and how to make sure that the things you put in your recycling bin actually get recycled.

I, somehow, was not familiar with the poet Mary Oliver. She died this week, and this remembrance of Oliver and her poetry by Maggie Smith (whose poem Good Bones has been such a solace to me when there is bad news in the world) is marvelous. I think I should read more poetry. Do you have a poet you love? Leave me recommendations in the comments!

Even better if you know of a website or a Twitter feed that posts a daily poem or something like that. (Yes, I will go search for one, too, but I have smart readers who might already know of a great poem feed!)

In recommended listening: Ezra Klein's interview with Glitch CEO Anil Dash is really good and worth your time if you want to try to think about how we got to the place we are with the tech industry, and how it could get better.

Also, I thoroughly enjoyed Krista Tippet's conversation with Maira Kalman. As I thought about it, I realized I am also really jealous of Kalman's life. It took me awhile to figure it out what, precisely, I envy. Eventually I got it, though: I envy the space and time she has to notice things, and how that is an integral part of her work. I don't think I can remake my career to give me that, exactly. But I can try to make more space and time in my life to notice things. I've decided I am going to do that, and I'm going to use my cell phone to help me. I am going to take more random pictures of things, and each week, I'm going to pick my favorite to post on my new Instagram account. (I posted what that was a while back - if you need my account handle, send me an email.) My plan is to post on Sunday evenings.

We'll see how that goes. I'll try to remember to report back in!




Thursday, January 17, 2019

Family Fun List 2019

I clicked back through my old Family Fun List posts (starting with last year's post) and discovered this is the sixth year we've written a Family Fun List: We started in 2013, when my kids were 5 and 3! I wrote in that first post that I hoped the kids would add more to the list as the got older. That has certainly come true! The list is now divided up with each family member getting three entries, with a bonus entry going to whoever had the fewest of the previous year's picks honored. And the kids are more attached to this tradition than I am.

We wrote this year's list in our rented beach house in Waihi Beach. Before I share it, here's how we did last year:
  • Go to a trampoline place with a foam pit (Petunia) - DONE, courtesy of a party for the grade winners at our school jogathon. Pumpkin was the 6th grade girl who ran the most laps, so she got to go to the party, which was at a trampoline place. We paid for Petunia to go to, and crossed this one off the list!
  • Art, Cuddles, and Doughnuts Day (Pumpkin... here's hoping we get a rainy weekend day!) - DONE. In fact, I like one of the things I drew so much I want to scan it in and make it a t-shirt in my Etsy shop. We spent an afternoon eating doughnuts, doing art, and cuddling, but that seemed to be enough.
  • Got to a movie in a theater (Mr. Snarky... this is a big deal because neither Pumpkin nor I are big movie goers) - DONE. We saw the Grinch in December.
  • Beach day (Me... actually, I'm hoping for several, but this will ensure I plan at least one good one!) - DONE. Obviously, with our recent vacation we had several beach days, but the one I counted for the list was the trip to Torrey Pines State Beach we took with a group of Pumpkin's day care friends in July.
  • Family sewing day (Petunia... I do not own a sewing machine, so I guess we'll all be hand-stitching) - NOT DONE. Oops. And I had some mending I could have done....
  • Go to [a local indoor rock climbing place] (Pumpkin) - NOT DONE. Oops. 
  • Go to [a water park near my parent's house] (Mr. Snarky) - DONE. We did this one in August, when we picked the kids up from a week with my parents. However, the Arizona kids were already back in school, so our first choice water park wasn't open when we were there. We substituted another option - the indoor wave pool at Tempe's Kiwanis park. The kids loved it.
  • Try a new restaurant (Me) - DONE. We tried out Waypoint Public in North Park. It was good, but I liked one of the other places we tried, the Little Italy Food Hall, better. The Food Hall is a food court with several vendors, though, and different family members ordered from different stalls, so I'm not sure it would really count.
  • Have a picnic at a park (Petunia) - DONE
  • Walk around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights (Pumpkin) - DONE
  • Hike at least 400 ft of elevation (Mr. Snarky... someone learned his lesson about not being specific, I guess.) - DONE. We counted our hike over the head at Waihi Beach to Orokawa Bay. 
  • Go to a special event at Balboa Park (Me... there are lots to choose from, but the current front runner is either the Diwali festival or the international food festival. Or maybe we'll get to both!) - DONE. We went to Balboa Park Summer Nights.
  • Bonus: Go to a kids' museum: DONE. We made several visits to the kids' favorite museum in Arizona: The Mesa i.d.e.a museum.

And here's the list for 2019:

  • Go to the San Diego kids' art museum. (Petunia. She was not pleased to find out we have one and she's never been!)
  • Go to [a local indoor rock climbing place]. (Pumpkin, and we SWEAR we're going to do it this year.)
  • Visit the slot canyon in San Diego country. (Mr. Snarky. He was not pleased to find out we have one and he's never been!)
  • Go to a special event at Balboa Park. (Me. I love having the nudge to go and appreciate one of the truly great things about San Diego!)
  • Have an outdoor ball sports day. (Petunia. This may have been influenced by the fact that we'd been playing some beach cricket and she loved it.)
  • Go mini-golfing (Pumpkin. She thinks that we won't do it unless it is on this list, and she's probably right.)
  • Go to a musical. (Mr. Snarky)
  • Go get ice cream at a non-chain shop. (Me. I love ice cream.)
  • Hold a no-braces party with at least one friend and all the food forbidden when wearing braces. (Petunia. She is really looking forward to getting her braces off! But this was poor choice strategy - we would have thrown her this party even if it wasn't on this list.)
  • Walk around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. (Pumpkin)
  • Go on a boat-based animal viewing excursion. (Mr. Snarky. Apparently he has several options in mind.)
  • Try a new restaurant in San Diego. (Me.)
  • Bonus: Go to Rita's Italian Ice (Consensus choice from the kids, who both had one item on last year's list that we didn't do. And they right: the Rita's is not close to us, so I wouldn't take them there without this list.)
I'm looking forward to a lot of fun in 2019! 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Weekend Reading: The I Guess I'm Getting Old Edition

Happy New Year!

If you didn't see it go by on Twitter, I'm just back from an absolutely wonderful 3 week vacation in New Zealand. I'll write more about it soon - I'll definitely do an awards show post like I always do, I'm just not sure if I'll put it here or over on Adjusted Latitudes. Then I'll write up a trip story type post over on Adjusted Latitudes as well.

I also want to write about our family fun list and my 2019 goals... and so much more! But I had more trouble getting past jet lag than I thought I would. It is only a 3 hour time difference (actually, a 21 hour time difference, but same thing...) but I really struggled this week. We came home on Tuesday and today is the first day I felt like I was in the right time zone. I don't know why I had so much trouble.

And then this morning, I tweaked my lower back by drying my legs after my shower. I felt it happen in the moment and still can't explain why it happened!

I think the answer to both of those things is that I'm getting old. Oh well.

Anyway, the combination of the two things means I don't have much to post today. Here's what I have:

If you nominate for the Hugos, here's Annorlunda Books' awards eligibility post.

Dara Lind is one of the best reporters I've read on the immigration beat. Her latest article about what is actually happening at the border is really good.

This is also relevant:

I don't think it is right to call this story about the 1950s TV show with an episode about a scammer named Trump "fun," per se, but it was an interesting read!

I liked this story about the medieval woman with Lapis Lazuli in her dental plaque.

This is a delightful short story about AI, disease monitoring, and birds. Read it!

I love this picture:


And to make up for the short post, I'll close with a picture of what I was doing instead. This is the bit of New Zealand coast where we spent 9 days of our vacation, viewed from the head at the south end. (For those who want details: This is Waihi Beach and the bits just south of it, viewed from the Bowentown Heads). I'm the person in the red shirt trudging up the hill. Pumpkin is next to me. Mr. Snarky and Petunia were faster than us.

Note how few people are on the beaches below. It was a beautiful day during high beach-going season. One of the most striking things about a NZ beach holiday for a southern Californian is how few people there are at the beach!